I recently discovered this article about a little lady first grader who was picked on by boys at school for bringing a Star Wars water bottle to school - a water bottle that she had been super pumped about.
My heart breaks for this little 5/6 year old. My heart breaks for her mommy. My heart breaks for all the little nerdy girls and boys, mothers and fathers who have to go through something like this.
Well, little Katie StarWarsLover, little girls don't need to be "mainstream" or "normal" or even "girly." They can play with boy things (trucks, Transformers, etc.) Girly tea parties, pink Barbie cars, princess dresses are boring. We'd rather be making our own faerie worlds in our back yards, watching Inspector Gadget after school every day because we think Penny is the smartest girl in the world....
If you haven't guessed by now, I'm talking about childhood Chelsea. I was, am, and always will be a nerd. I wasn't always proud of it, I got picked on mercilessly for it, and at times, I did just what little Katie did and I tried to hide it behind normal girl things (some of which I learned to love as well). But then, one day, in second grade, I came home from school after weeks and weeks of after-school crying sessions with my mom and said, basically, that I'd had it with trying to fit in. I'd had it with trying to make people like me. I wanted to be happy, to like the things I liked. To believe in faeries. To believe that Gadget's niece Penny was the person I wanted to be. To watch Han Solo frozen in carbonite over and over again because I thought it so tragic and heart breaking. For getting excited when Star Trek: The Next Generation came on because those guys and gals were my heroes. (Side note, I like both Star Trek and Star Wars and I will never EVER choose sides or allow people to think me less of a nerd because of it).
And you know what? The bullying didn't stop for quite some time. I don't think it truly ended until I got to college and started only valuing those people from high school that I kept in touch with and the wonderful friends I gathered while at UMass because they people who liked me because I was me. They like quirky, nerdy Chelsea, the girl who is all a-SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE about seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in an IMAX theater on Sunday. I'm passionate about the things I nerd-out about.
And I'm happy. Very very happy. And I think being true to my nerdy self, while not always easy, is why I'm happy.
So, someday, when our kids go through what Miss StarWarsLover has gone through, help me in letting them know that their passion for nerdery will make them happy humans someday. That while Sally Normalson and Jimmy Mainstream think you're weird, you'll show them someday, with a big smile on your face and a Wonder Woman mug in your hand, that you're happy.